Norwegian version

Public defence: Lise Lundh

Lise Lundh will defend her thesis: “Playing and belonging. An ethnographic study of music education and processes of inclusion in a culturally diverse elementary school” for the degree of PhD in Educational Sciences for Teacher Education.

Trial Lecture

The trial lecture starts at 10:00. Please do not enter the room after the lecture has begun.
Title: To be announced 

Public defence

The candidate will defend her thesis at 12.00. Please do not enter the room after the defence has begun.

Title of the thesis: “Playing and belonging. An ethnographic study of music education and processes of inclusion in a culturally diverse elementary school”.

Ordinary opponents

Leader of the public defence

Vice Dean of Education Finn Aarsæther, OsloMet – Oslo Metropolitan University


How to oppose ex auditorio

Please inform the leader of the defense if you wish to oppose ex auditorio during the break, before the second opponent begins. 

For questions regarding the trial lecture and public defense, contact the PhD administration at the faculty.

Publication of the approved PhD thesis

Request a copy (PDF) of the PhD thesis by e-mail. Include the name of the PhD candidate.

  • Abstract

    This dissertation is based on ethnographic research in an elementary school in central Oslo, the capital of Norway. The school has given a special priority to music education, providing all pupils with weekly tuition on an instrument from the classical symphony orchestra. The neighbourhood and school environment are marked by intersecting diversities, including socioeconomic challenges. Inspired by the global music education movement from Venezuela, El Sistema, music education was by school leaders put forward as providing a path off the streets and giving the children and their families something to be proud of.

    The primary purpose of the study is to explore how playing music together might facilitate processes of inclusion. Furthermore, the study aims at contributing to a more holistic and complex understanding of diversity.
    Research was carried out with the aim of exploring the pupils’ points of view, based on a classical anthropological approach. The approach is furthermore informed by perspectives from special education, where inclusion presupposes individual experiences of belonging, based on participation.

    The analysis is grounded in the empirical material and informed by an interdisciplinary theoretical approach. The research finds that social and cultural diversities overlapped with many “kinds” of diversity. Consequently, superdiversity (Vertovec, 2007) is employed to understand both the neighbourhood and the musical and social practices in school. Some of the diversifying factors appeared to be enlarged by a considerable mobility in and out of the neighbourhood, resulting in a constant presence of new non-Norwegian speakers in the classes, without any experience with playing an instrument.
    Music represented a separate space in the school, physically as well as pedagogically and socially. The children’s practical attitude to music, as well as the notion that music is closely linked to social processes, led to the engagement with Christopher Small’s verbal form, musicking in the analysis. Musicking may furthermore be seen as a tacit form of knowledge. Teaching tacit knowledge by practical demonstration diminished the dependency on verbally based tuition and worked well in the instrument teaching classes. The music program may as such be seen as affording an arena for mastering in a situation marked by intersecting diversities.

    Parallel to a superdiversity perspective, the concept of inclusion is developed further towards flexible and fluid ongoing processes of experiencing belonging. I have applied

    Allison Pugh’s (2009) perspective on children’s managements of feeling worthy of belonging, to understand their agencies, and to explore how they work to include and exclude themselves and each other in the school environment. My analysis shows how social relationships are played out in the music groups and how they may be altered in the musicking. When playing together, the children at times enter different temporary roles. By use of Tia DeNora’s (2015) concept music asylum, my analysis shows how individual achievements while playing together and while co-tutoring each other, may contribute to social changes within the group.

    Finally, the thesis also aims at contributing to methodological discussions on doing anthropological research with children in school. I show that bodily knowledge, including tacit knowledge, represents valuable research data. Ethically, the thesis is also a contribution to discussions about the importance of understanding social processes in context, and the children’s rights to be heard in research.

    A holistic perspective, both regarding the individual pupil and the systemic responsibility for ensuring an inclusive social environment, lies as a foundation of the study. Martha Nussbaum’s capability approach has been applied to explore how the humanities may be helpful to a school in focusing on the pupils’ individual strengths in a development towards personal and communal well-being and education towards sustainability and democracy.